Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/9

Although the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders lost 1-0 on Monday, the club got excellent pitching performances from right-handed prospects Justin Grimm and Cody Buckel. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock – All-Star break
39-52, 13.5 GB

The Pacific Coast League is on its All-Star break. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played on Wednesday at Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field. Outfielder Joey Butler will represent the Round Rock Express.

AA: Frisco 0 – Arkansas 1
L - Buckel (1-3)
8-9, 5.0 GB

The RoughRiders and Travelers played a 1-0 pitcher's duel that lasted just two hours and 19 minutes on Monday evening.

Playing in front of just 2,743 fans––quite a small crowd for Frisco's Dr Pepper Ballpark––the ‘Riders showcased two of the Rangers' top pitching prospects.

Making his first start since returning to the minor leagues, right-hander Justin Grimm worked three shutout innings while yielding two hits. He struck out one without walking a batter.

Grimm, who had both of his singles allowed erased on double play balls, threw 27 of his 39 pitches for a strike. He was pitching in Double-A because the Pacific Coast League is currently on its All-Star break. He's slated to be promoted to Triple-A Round Rock when they return on Thursday, and he'll likely pitch for the Express this weekend.

After Grimm exited, 20-year-old prospect Cody Buckel turned in his cleanest Double-A outing yet. Buckel surrendered a run on three hits over six innings, walking one and striking out six. He threw only 71 pitches, including 52 strikes.

Although Buckel worked six innings of one-hit ball in his previous start, he threw just over 50 percent of his pitches for a strike. But on Monday, the righty fired a first-pitch strike to 14 of the 21 hitters he faced.

The California native has the following stat-line through four Texas League outings––22.1 ip, 16 h, 8 er (3.22 ERA), 9 bb, 18 k.

The game's only run came in the top of the seventh inning, when Buckel surrendered a solo home run to Renny Osuna––his first round-tripper of the year.

Osuna, who played with Frisco between 2009 and 2011, is the RoughRiders' all-time franchise hits leader.

While the ‘Riders pitched well, the offense was held in check by hard-throwing 6-foot-9 Angels prospect John Hellweg. He scattered five hits over eight shutout frames.

Right fielder Jared Hoying raised his Double-A batting average to .379 by going 2-for-4 with his second double. Second baseman Leury Garcia (1/3, 3B) added his seventh triple.

Leadoff man Engel Beltre (2/4) had two singles and stole two bases for the second consecutive night, giving him 24 in 29 attempts.

Player of the Game: RHP Cody Buckel
6.0 3 1 1 1 6 1 3.22

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – (@) Wilmington 6
L - Van Meter (1-4)
13-6, 2.0 GU

The Pelicans were limited to two hits by three Blue Rocks pitchers in Monday's series finale. The knocks were a leadoff double by second baseman Odubel Herrera (1/2, 2B, BB, HBP) and a single from shortstop Hanser Alberto (1/4).

Herrera, who began the game with his two-bagger, scored on a Brett Nicholas sacrifice fly. He left the game after being hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth inning.

The double would be Myrtle Beach's last hit until Alberto's single in the top of the ninth inning.

Sinkerballing righty Randol Rojas (2.40 ERA/.248 BAA) worked six innings and gave up two runs. He yielded five hits, walked one, and struck out a season-high eight batters.

The Venezuela native induced eight groundouts and two flyouts during the start. He now sports a 2.11 earned-run average in 21 games (seven starts) between the Low- and High-A levels this year.

Wilmington took the lead when reliever Joe Van Meter permitted four runs––only one earned––on three hits in two innings. He fanned five and walked one.

Rojas and Van Meter combined to strike out 13 batters over eight innings in the losing effort.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva had a rough night both at the plate (0/4, 1 K) and in the field, as he committed a season-high three errors. The poor defensive night gave Villanueva 10 errors on the season. The miscues were his first since June 10, ending a 23-game errorless streak at third base.

Player of the Game: RHP Randol Rojas
6.0 5 2 2 1 8 1 2.40

A: Hickory – OFF
13-5, 1.0 GU

The entire South Atlantic League was off on Monday. The Crawdads travel north to face Lakewood in New Jersey on Tuesday.

SSA: Spokane 3 – (@) Tri-City 4
L - de los Santos (3-2)
8-17, 7.0 GB

The Indians dropped their fifth consecutive game, falling to 8-17 on the summer and seven games out of first place. Spokane will get a much-needed day off on Wednesday. It's one of only two scheduled days off through the remainder of the season.

Dominican starter Abel de los Santos (2.05 ERA/.194 BAA) scuffled slightly for the first time this season, as the 19-year-old righty allowed four runs in 5.1 innings. He gave up six hits, walked one, and fanned four.

Tall relievers Josh McElwee (1.2 IP) and Alec Asher (1 IP) held Tri-City off the scoreboard through the remainder of the game.

McElwee, the Rangers' 20th-round pick in this year's MLB Draft out of Newberry College in South Carolina, has missed plenty of bats thus far––9.2 ip, 12 h, 1 er (0.93 ERA), 1 bb, 13 k.

Cleanup-hitting right fielder Royce Bolinger (.162/.219/.221) had a single, a double, and a walk in four plate appearances. Catcher Guy Edmonds (1/4, 2B) also added a two-bagger, although he whiffed three times.

The Indians hitters combined to punch out 12 times in the nine innings.

Speedy leadoff man Chris Garia (.280/.372/.427), who has been one of the club's few strong offensive performers thus far, picked up two singles and an RBI in four at-bats.

Player of the Game: RF Royce Bolinger
3 1 2 1 0 1 1 0 .162

RK: Surprise Rangers 5 – Scottsdale Diamondbacks 6
L - Tirado (0-1)
HR - Gallo (7)
10-6, 1.0 GU

The Rookie Rangers didn't earn the victory on Monday, but they took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the third time in 16 games this year.

Venezuelan starting pitcher Aliangel Lopez hurled five innings of hitless, scoreless ball to start the game. The 18-year-old southpaw struck out five and walked two.

Lopez hasn't given up a hit in nine total innings in his last two starts. Overall, he's permitted just four knocks in 19.2 innings while walking two and punching out 20.

The Rangers did all of their damage in the bottom of the third inning, when they plated five runs on all six of their hits––including four extra-base hits.

Slugging third baseman Joey Gallo (.294/.486/.804) was 1-for-3 with a home run––his seventh in 16 games––and a walk. Through those first 16 professional contests, Gallo has socked 11 extra-base hits and drawn 19 walks while striking out 15 times.

Lewis Brinson (1/3, 3B, BB) and Nick Williams (1/4, 3B) both tripled while Nomar Mazara (1/3, 2B, BB) added his sixth double.

Luis Marte (1/4) and Janluis Castro (1/4) also singled in the big third inning.

But things fell apart for the rookie club shortly after Lopez exited the game. Making his professional debut, Tyler Smith permitted two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Pedro Tirado then coughed up four runs while getting three outs.

George Mason University product Brandon Kuter settled it down by retiring the game's final seven batters over 2.1 perfect innings, striking out three.

Rangers manager Corey Ragsdale was ejected following the bottom of the eighth inning.

Player of the Game: LHP Aliangel Lopez
5.0 0 0 0 2 5 0 0.92

DSL: DSL Rangers 7 – DSL Pirates1 1
W - Pena (1-2)
20-12, 0.0 GU

The Dominican Rangers remained on top of their division with a clean 7-1 victory on Monday.

Starting pitcher Kelvin Vasquez (4 IP) and reliever Richelson Pena (3 IP) each allowed one hit while keeping the Pirates1 off the scoreboard. Vasquez struck out five while Pena fanned two.

The DSL Pirates1 scored their only run off Stanley Solano, who gave up one in two frames.

Second baseman Belarmino Campos (2/4, 3B) and catcher Carlos Garay (1/2, 3B, BB) each tripled for the second time this season.

Centerfielder Jose Cardona, who was 1-for-4, knocked his seventh double.

Player of the Game: RHP Kelvin Vasquez
4.0 1 0 0 1 5 0 4.94

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